Las Vegas sportsbooks save millions thanks to Capitals' Stanley Cup win over long-shot Golden Knights

  • The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, taking down the upstart Vegas Golden Knights in five games.
  • With the win, the Capitals saved sportsbooks in Las Vegas millions, as the expansion franchise had been available at odds as long as 500/1 before the season started.
  • Despite the huge payout it would have required, oddsmakers expressed that they would have been willing to take the hit if it meant their team was winning the Stanley Cup.


The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights to take home the most iconic trophy in sports.

The result was disappointing for fans of the Golden Knights, who went from a rag-tag roster of misfits to a Stanley Cup contender in 11 short months and exceeded even their owner's wildest expectations for the season. But for the sportsbooks of Las Vegas, the Capitals win was something of a relief, at least when it comes to managing finances.

Heading into the season, the Golden Knights were listed as 500/1 long shots to win the Stanley Cup, and as a result, sportsbooks across the city were due to take quite a hit had they pulled off the win. William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN's Ben Fawkes, "The estimates I heard around town of $5 [million] or $6 million sounded about right," adding that it was the biggest liability he'd seen since William Hill U.S. was formed.

As the Golden Knights progressed through the season and proved to be a force in the league, oddsmakers had to find creative ways to hedge against the potential of a Stanley Cup win. Some sportsbooks offered a "field" bet that allowed them to offset some of their risks, but even with the adjustments, a Golden Knights win was still a significant financial liability.

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LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 7: The Washington Capitals celebrate their win over the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period of game five of The Stanley Cup Final. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 07: Washington Capitals fan, Mackenzie Frazier and others react to the Capitals first goal during game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights near Capital One Arena on Thursday June 07, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 7: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) lingered on the bench after they won during the third period of game five of The Stanley Cup Final. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS NV - JUNE 7: Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) leads the team around the with cup during the second period of the game between the Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights in game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas NV on June 7, 2018. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 7: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) hoists the Stanley Cup after their win over the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period of game five of The Stanley Cup Final. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: (L-R) John Carlson #74, Andre Burakovsky #65 and Lars Eller #20 of the Washington Capitals celebrate after Burakovsky assisted Eller on a third-period goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals defeated the Golden Knights 4-3. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals and his father, Tim, hold the Stanley Cup after the Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Alex Ovechkin #8 and Alex Chiasson #39 of the Washington Capitals smile about winning the Stanley Cup after the Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Alex Ovechkin #8 and Alex Chiasson #39 of the Washington Capitals embrace in celebration of winning the Stanley Cup after the Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates winning the Stanley Cup after his team defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Nicklas Backstrom #19 and Christian Djoos #29 of the Washington Capitals kiss the Stanley Cup celebration of defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Alex Ovechkin #8, Andre Burakovsky #65, John Carlson #74 and Michal Kempny #6 of the Washington Capitals celebrate winning the Stanley Cup by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with the Stanley Cup after his team defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Capitals won the series four games to one. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals hands the Stanley Cup off after the team's 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: The scoreboard displays a message thanking fans along with the 4-3 final score of the Washington Capitals' win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final as the Capitals celebrate on the ice at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Despite this, many of those running the sportsbooks said they would have traded the financial hit if it meant their newfound team got to raise Lord Stanley's Cup in their first season. "We root for the house as much as we can, but this is such a unique story," Bogdanovich said. "I think we have a free waiver on this one."

Unfortunately for bettors who came so close to a 500/1 payout, the Golden Knights won't be available at that price again for some time — Las Vegas sportsbooks have already set their odds at paltry 10/1 to win it all next season, tied for the second-best odds in the league.

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